Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Copper Creek

The author waiting for the go-signal, partway through Final Five Canyon.

Tuesday found us headed south -- again. This time Nick, Steve, and I were headed out to Copper Creek, a fantastic creek the joins the EF Lewis above Horseshoe Falls.

Photos are in the gallery and a second gallery.

On the way to the takeout, we encountered a photographer setting up on the falls on Yacolt Creek, visible where you take a right on Sunset Falls Rd. to get to the Copper Creek or Falls Run access points. We stopped to chat and found out the group was there to shoot an ad for Xerox -- but no one was running the falls. Instead, they had brand new -- still with tags! -- gear in the grass overlooking the falls. Steve quickly decided to run it, so we suited up and went back to tell the photographer.

Video: Steve on Yacolt Creek

Steve drops a 20-footer on Yacolt Creek.

After this little side adventure, we took off for the takeout. Steve and I had run Copper Creek late in 2004, so I took the lead after we scouted Certain Death. Flows were roughly 1120 on the EF Lewis gauge, about 10% higher than our previous trip. This really cleaned up the top section, and didn't make the big drops too pushy.

Nick hoots after successfully running the warm-up drop.

Steve works on his new move. Still needs a little work.

Steve in one of the early small drops.

We made good time on the class III drops until we approached the horizon line at Triple Delight. Steve ran first, following the same line I swam on our first lap. After watching his run, I decided to enter from an eddy on river right, moving hard left to try and catch the flake to the left of the crease, rather than go down the crease as we had previously done. There was a big boil that feeds right into the fold, but I was able make the move and stay left.

Video: Triple Delight

A sequence from Steve and my runs over the 2-foot and 8-foot ledges and Steve and Nick on the final 18-foot drop at Triple Delight.

Just below Triple Delight comes a fun ledge. Eddy on the right, and scout right and low-medium flows. Run down the right, or diagonally right-to-left.

The author runs the ledge drop below Triple Delight.

Steve and Nick run the ledge.

The next significant drop is a flume-like drop, with a large pool on the left above it and easy scouting on the left at these flows. It's straightforward, clean, and fun.

Nick and Steve clean the flume drop.

Below the flume drop comes more fun class III-IV drops, including some small ledges.

Steve lines up on a small drop.

Next up: Final Five Canyon. This rapid is unique, scenic, challenging, and damn fun.

We moved as quickly as possible here to minimize our time on the right bank, which is private property. Steve ran first, cleaning the first three drops, then Nick and I went below to get setup for his run on the lower drops. After Steve ran, I headed up for my boat and a run through one of my all-time favorite rapids.

Video: Final Five Canyon

Steve runs Final Five Canyon.

The author rides a tailstand through the second drop in Final Five Canyon.

The author cleans the final two drops in Final Five (vid caps).

Below Final Five Canyon Copper Creek joins the East Fork of the Lewis. We bombed down to Horseshoe falls in no time.

Video: Horseshoe Falls

Steve scouts the left line at Horseshoe Falls.

Good to go! Steve melts down the left side.

Nick drops Horseshoe.

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